SSE and Coillte have started commercial operations at the 169MW Galway wind farm in Connemara, Ireland. The €281m project, which is located in the Cloosh Valley, was built in two phases and consists of 58 Siemens Gamesa 3MW turbines. The 64MW first phase is owned and was fully financed by SSE at an investment cost of around €105m.
The 105MW second phase is a 50/50 joint venture between SSE and Coillte which was funded by project finance totalling €176m. Finance was agreed in 2016 with BBVA, Coöperatieve Rabobank UA, and NORD/LB. Electricity generated by the wind farm will be provided to SSE’s retail arm SSE Airtricity. The project will also soon launch a community fund, which will operate for the lifetime of the wind farm.
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The GREBE Project participated in Galway Chamber’s energy conference in the Galway Bay Hotel on Friday 12th May 2017. As part of the panel on the International Perspective, Pauline Leonard (GREBE Project Co-ordinator) stressed the benefits of renewable energy for the social and economic development of peripheral regions and the benefits of working with international partners in terms of technology and knowledge transfer. Other participants on the international panel included Chris Stark (Scottish Government Director of Energy and Climate Change), Denise Massey (MD of Energy Innovation Centre UK), Alex White (Energy Policy Group Chair at the Institute of International & European Affairs and former Minster for Energy) and Jim Mulcair (Chairman of Roadbridge).
The conference was organised by Galway Chamber of Commerce and its president Conor O’Dowd expects to see 30% more people living in Galway by 2050. Minister of State for Natural Resources Seán Kyne TD, outlined the Government’s position on the energy sector and stressed how important this sector is to the region. The leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan highlighted the need for a zero carbon society by 2050
The conference was sponsored by Coillte and SSE, and James O’Hara of SSE stated that the development of Galway Wind Park will herald a huge increase in renewable electricity generation in the West of Ireland. It will involve 69 turbines, powering up to 84,000 homes and effectively replacing 190,000 tonnes of carbon generated electricity each year. The wind park near Moycullen will become Ireland’s largest onshore wind farm to date and will assist Galway in achieving the status of a net exporter of renewable energy.
Brian Sheridan of the Galway Harbour Company and John Breslin of SmartBay outlined the potential for marine energy in the region, with discussions about offshore wind and the generation of wave and tidal power.